Healthcare for UK nationals living in Poland

How to get state healthcare if you live, work or study in Poland.

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This guidance will be updated if anything changes to how you get state healthcare in Poland.

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This information is about living in Poland. There are different rules if you’re visiting Poland - find out how to get healthcare cover abroad with a UK-issued Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) on the NHS website.

Poland has an insurance-based healthcare system. If you’re not insured, you may be charged for using state healthcare services.

UK nationals usually access the Polish healthcare system in one of these ways:

  • paying insurance contributions to the Polish state health system state through their employer
  • paying voluntary insurance contributions to the Polish state health system directly
  • taking out private health insurance
  • using a UK-issued GHIC or EHIC for temporary stays when studying, or as a ‘posted’ (detached) worker
  • registering an UK-issued S1 form with the Polish state health system (see ‘UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Poland’ below)

Healthcare if you live and work in Poland

If you are planning on moving to Poland, see the guidance on Living in Poland for more information about visa and residency requirements.

You must show proof of healthcare cover:

  • before you can register as a resident
  • when you apply for a visa

For details about the healthcare cover required for residency applications, contact local authorities in Poland or the appropriate Polish embassy or consulate in the UK.

If you’re employed, monthly insurance contributions to the National Health Fund (NFZ) are taken from your salary before you’re paid.

If you’re self-employed or not working, you can pay voluntary insurance contributions directly to the National Health Fund each month. You cannot do this if you’re registered as unemployed in Poland.

Your dependants will be covered by your insurance if they do not have their own.

You may be entitled to a Polish EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK.

You may also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension (see ‘UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Poland’ below).

How to register for healthcare

First, register as a resident at the administrative offices of your provincial authority.

You then need to register with the National Health Fund.

If you work for a Polish employer, they’ll register you.

If you’re self-employed or not working, go to your regional branch of the National Health Fund.

Find out what documents you need to bring from the National Health Fund website.

Show ID and proof of your insurance when you visit a doctor.

How to access healthcare services

Find your nearest hospital or clinic on this GOV.UK webpage.

How much you’ll pay

Monthly contributions cost 9% of your salary if you’re employed.

If you’re self-employed or not working, monthly contributions are based on national average salary.

State health services are free if you pay insurance contributions, but you need to pay for some prescription medicines.

You can use some private health facilities for free if the facility has a contract with the Polish state health system.

If your UK employer has sent you to Poland temporarily (‘posted workers’)

A posted worker, also known as a ‘detached worker’, is someone employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to a European Economic Area (EEA) country.

UK posted workers can access healthcare in Poland using a GHIC, EHIC or S1 form.

HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.

UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Poland

There’s different guidance if you have an S1 as a ‘posted worker’ (see ‘If your UK employer has sent you to Poland temporarily (‘posted workers’)’ above).

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you’re a resident in Poland and receive a UK State Pension or an exportable benefit. See Planning your healthcare abroad on the NHS website for more information about eligibility.

You may also be entitled to an S1 form if you’re a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if you’re eligible.

Not all UK benefits that can be claimed while abroad entitle you to UK-funded healthcare. Read more about claiming benefits if you move abroad or contact Jobcentre Plus to ask about a benefit.

Once you have an S1 form, you must register it on the Polish system.

This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare in Poland on the same basis as a Polish citizen.

You’ll also get:

  • a UK-issued GHIC or EHIC for travel
  • planned treatments in other EU countries

You can find out more about using your GHIC or EHIC abroad and the rules on planned treatments in other EU countries on the NHS website.

Dependants and family members may be classified differently in Poland than the UK.

Check with the local authorities when you register your S1 form.

If you’re entitled to an S1 form as a dependant of a State Pensioner, your health cover will be cancelled once you begin claiming your UK State Pension.

You will be sent a new S1 form to your registered address from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services. You must register this form to ensure continuation of healthcare cover.

You are responsible for informing NHS Overseas Healthcare Services if you change your address or your circumstances change.

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm

How to get an S1 form

If you have a UK State Pension or another qualifying exportable benefit, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services (see contact details above).

How to use an S1 form in Poland

You must register your S1 form with the National Health Fund.

Once registered, you’ll get a certificate confirming your registration with NFZ. This shows that you’re entitled to healthcare on the same basis as a Polish citizen.

If you are experiencing delays registering your S1 with local authorities and require emergency or urgent treatment, contact the Overseas Healthcare Services on 0044 191 218 1999.

Studying in Poland

You should apply for a Student GHIC to get medically necessary, state-provided healthcare for the duration of your study period in Poland, whether this is for part or all of your course. This means that you’ll get necessary healthcare services on the same basis as a Polish citizen either for free or at a reduced cost.

If you already hold a valid Student EHIC you can use this until the card expires.

Read more about eligibility and how to apply on the NHS website.

Getting treatment in the UK

Because the NHS is a residency-based system, under NHS rules UK nationals who move abroad on a permanent basis may lose their entitlement to free NHS healthcare.

If you are a UK national and move to the EU, you should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK unless you have an EHIC, PRC or S2 to show your healthcare costs are funded by the EU country in which you now live, or another exemption applies.

Some former UK residents do not have to pay for NHS treatment when visiting England. This includes:

  • UK war pensioners
  • UK government employees
  • UK nationals living in the EU on or before 31 December 2020, once they have a registered, UK-issued S1

Read more about using the NHS when you no longer live in the UK (see ‘UK nationals who no longer live in the UK’ in Healthcare for visitors to the UK from the EU).

If you return to live in the UK you’ll be able to use the NHS like any other UK resident.

Read more about using the NHS when you return to live in the UK.

Updates to this page

Published 23 September 2019
Last updated 21 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'Healthcare if you live and work in Poland' to include information about how to find your nearest hospital or clinic. Updated 'UK-funded healthcare' to include information for S1 dependants who begin claiming a UK State Pension, and guidance for S1 holders who are experiencing delays in registering their S1. Updated 'Studying in Poland' to include more information on Student GHIC and Student EHIC cards. Updated 'Getting treatment in the UK' to provide additional detail about NHS access when visiting the UK.

  2. Updated 'posted worker' section to reflect that posted workers can continue working and accessing state healthcare in Poland, and added detail to ‘getting treatment in the UK’ section about healthcare when you no longer live in the UK.

  3. Updated sections on living and working in Poland, using an S1 form in Poland, posted workers and studying in Poland. Changes reflect healthcare arrangements for people moving to Poland under the new rules of the UK’s deal with the EU.

  4. Updated 2 sections: ‘Healthcare if you’re using an S1 form in Poland' and ‘Healthcare if you’re studying in Poland’. Students and people with a registered S1 in Poland can now apply for a new UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that will remain valid from 1 January 2021.

  5. Details on the ways that you access healthcare have been updated. The guidance now only covers living, working and studying. Information on visiting has been moved to:

  6. First published.

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